Cheering it up


When most people think of cheerleaders they think hair bows and pom poms, but being a cheerleader is so much more.
Senior and captain of the IHS cheerleading team this year, Mackenzie Weseloh explains: “Cheer is not something that you can do half way; you have to be dedicated all the way.”
Cheerleading is a physically demanding sport full of dedicated and spirited athletes. Some people might believe that cheering isn’t a sport at all, but many here may beg to differ.
“Whether you are basing, stunting or backing you have to hold your own weight,” sophomore Caitlin Dreher said. “Cheerleaders work harder than most people think; we work most of the summer building up or muscles.
“Stunting is super hard. We fall down and get hurt a lot, but we have to be tough and keep going; stunting definitely takes a lot out of you.”
The sport demands strength, stamina and dedication. Cheerleaders are constantly holding each other up during stunts and doing tricks to hold the crowd’s attention on the field or the court. This requires an immense amount of strength and staying power, coaches and squad members say.
Being a cheerleader can be hard on a teen’s body. Cheering, stunting, dancing (not to mention smiling) for the whole game requires both commitment and cardiovascular fitness.
“It’s hard work being a cheerleader, especially coming in my senior year as a new cheerleader,” Scout Henry said. “It’s definitely more difficult coming in my senior year rather than my freshman year. The other girls have had more time to practice and perfected their moves.”
The IHS squad has had many new faces this year after saying goodbye to a large, outgoing senior group at the end of last year. New to the squad this year are freshman Taylor Stout, sophomores Micaiah Larney, Ashley Merritt, Bayleigh Weide and Caitlin Dreher, and seniors Scout Henry and Isaias Macias. Cheering alongside the new additions are veterans Clara Wicoff, Olivia Bannister and Caitie Venter, sophomores; Torrie Lewis and Trilby Bannister, juniors; and Mackenzie Weseloh and Quinton Morrison, seniors.